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Eggplant Pasta Sauce

The eggplant in this robust beef and tomato sauce absorbs the nutty flavor of olive oil, in which it is sautéed. Toasted fennel seed adds to the nutty flavor of this sauce as well. Serve it over pasta with a robust red wine.
 

1 lb. extra-lean ground beef

2 - 8 oz tins crushed tomatoes, ItalPasta or Heinz

1 medium sized eggplant, diced

3-4 large garlic cloves, pressed

several mushrooms, cremini or white, chopped

6-10 large black or red olives, defleshed

A plate of mixed olives ...

2-3 tbls Demerara sugar

olive oil & peanut oil

splash of balsamic vinegar or full-bodied red wine

4 tbls oregano

2 tbls basil

1 tbls fennel seed, toasted

freshly ground black pepper & salt to taste

Parmesano Reggiano, finely grated for garnish

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Heat a large sauce pot or Dutch oven with peanut oil and brown the meat on high heat.  Reduce heat, add olive oil, and brown garlic, eggplant, and mushrooms.

Add the crushed tomatoes, balsamic/wine, and sugar, and stir well.  Simmer on low heat for half an hour, then add the herbs, salt, and pepper, and continue to cook for another half hour.

Meanwhile, heat water in a large stock pot and toss in half a palmful of coarse salt.  Once the water is boiling, add 6 servings of spaghettini, spaghetti, or linguini, and cook 10-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the noodles.  Drain the noodles and toss lightly with a flavoured olive oil, if available.  Serve with the sauce topped with grated Parmesan and a full-bodied Italian red wine.

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